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Interoperability Mockery in Europe - Microsoft Dumps 30,000 Pages of Text

Embrace of open standards (or lack thereof) is a major component of the series of Microsoft deals. We have been endlessly harping about Novell's (and now Xandros as well) impact on Microsoft's battles in the European courts. We also talked about their ill effects on document formats. Brace yourself for the latest, which probably confirms the worst of predictions. Microsoft has yet again 'pulled an OOXML', but intensified it by a factor of 5.

Microsoft says 'archaeology' changes the way it develops products

Critics say company isn't documenting interaction methods fast enough

Microsoft Corp. will deliver the final installment of hundreds of pounds of documentation of its products to U.S. regulators next month, a result of seemingly never-ending disputes over the company's business practices.

That load will exceed the roughly 30,000 printed pages, or 130 pounds of documentation, already prepared by Microsoft for European regulators.

[...]

Not buying it

Microsoft's rivals argue the company is doing too little, too late. Vinje, of ECIS, said he doesn't believe Microsoft has faced the severe challenges the company alleges in documenting its protocols.


30,000 pages? Are you able to visualise this. This is clearly a delaying tactic and it very much resembles the issues that we have seen before. This is the same type of mockery that we found in OOXML. Consider, for instance, this older little article.

By writing 6000 pages, something else strikes many, including myself: no human can implement that. In fact, nobody aside Microsoft will be able to rightly implement it because Microsoft is the only one can deal with the previously existing formats. For these 6000 pages are thousands of man/years of confusion, users' lock-in, con-formating of data, IP and jealously kept trade secrets. And you would expect that anybody might come up with something that works? Apple, by the way, will not. Because Microsoft Office for Mac will not be able to use Open XML for some years, as I have learned. So good for the great open file format of Microsoft. 6000 pages cannot be a standard. It is FUD. It is a scandal, and a digital wart in the industry. 6000 pages cannot be reputed conformant by anybody else than their author. And their author is Microsoft.


Also recall Microsoft's stance on standards, judged by a fairly old antitrust exhibit [compressed PDF].

[Microsoft:] "For example, we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call 'to me' to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone's benefit. We are large enough that this can work."


"What is the way to go", you ask? Red Hat spells it nicely.

Red Hat will only sign an interoperability agreement with Microsoft if it is based entirely on open standards, the company's executive vice president of Engineering Paul Cormier told vnunet.com.


Novell and Xandros make the use of standards seem like distant dream. Nonetheless, as far as documents are concerned, OOXML will not stand, despite all the dirty tricks, to which the American government seems extremely susceptible.

You might think the steady defeat of bills in several U.S. states to mandate the use of free interoperable file formats might dampen the spirits of IBM Corp., one of the prime supporters of the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Far from it, said IBM's Bob Sutor, who sees the recent news as par for the course in the evolution of any open standard.


Always remember whose side Novell and Xandros have taken in this debate over standards. They might argue that they haven't a choice, but they willingly dug and buried themselves in this hole of dependency.

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